Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Prime Minister visits Southport

I popped into The Atkinson today after being alerted that they had new stock. The information/ticket office doubles as Tourist Information and they have always had old railway posters and other Southport memorabilia. It was good to see they had lots of postcards, mugs etc of some of the art works in the gallery -pride of place was clearly given to Lilith by John Collier.

What caught my eye was a black and white notelet of a Prime Ministerial visit to Southport allegedly in 1910.

I am just re-reading Roy Jenkin's biography of Asquith( the Prime Minister he 'truly loved' according to Michael Steed) and I can find no reference to the visit there. Michael Braham's: 'Southport Liberal Association: The first 100 years' doesn't mention it either.

1910 was a tempestuous for Southport Liberal, two General Elections including what is popularly agreed to be the nastiest Tory campaign on record. waged against the Liberal Candidate Baron de Forest.The Tory a Major White played the race card with gusto. Anyway I can find no trace of a visit by Asquith.

The Prime Minister had come the year before to the conference of the National Liberal Federation held in the Cambridge Halls-now The Atkinson-. Braham tells us that there was a reception for 2,000 guests who were entertained by the Southport Vocal Union's Choir and music by the Corporation Band. A Garden Party was held in Hesketh Park for 2,500 guests.

Later during the Conference Asquith addressed upwards of 6,000 people. There was no Hall big enough in the town to accommodate the crowd.so their were two meetings one in the Empire Music Hall (where was that?) and one in the Opera House.

Maybe Asquith just popped in to visit the Botanic Gardens in 1910, after all with two General Elections he must have been short of things to do

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